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City’s contribution to ‘wellbeing of society’ explored by St Paul’s Institute

The full video of a recent debate which asked if the City of London is ‘socially useful’, is now available to watch.

Organised by St Paul’s Institute, in collaboration with JustShare, the debate, The City: Is it socially useful?, was held on Wednesday 25 July at St Mary-le-Bow church, Cheapside.

Participating in the debate were Tony Greenham from the new economics foundation, and Raquel Hughes from TheCityUK.The debate was chaired by Anne Kiem of the Institute of Financial Services, and included comment and questions from the audience.

In a time of ongoing controversy surrounding the behaviour of many people and structures related to the financial sector, the debate provided an opportunity to discuss the prominent role of the sector today and whether or not it is justified by its contribution to the overall wellbeing of society.

Both speakers agreed that there were many aspects of modern life which depend upon the products and transactions provided by the financial services industry, and there was little disagreement that these core services were vital. However, there was also a close and frank look at elements of the sector that were seen to be out of control and needed to be re-examined in light of numerous examples of self-serving behaviour, malpractice or ethical ambiguity.

Robert Gordon, Manager of St Paul’s Institute, said: "This debate contained solid thinking from both sides, and there were a number of practical suggestions worth taking particular note of. We are at the stage now where we must focus on models for reform and their desired outcomes, as it is clear that we have reached broad-based agreement that change must occur.

"Where we go from here must be carefully and openly considered.”